Norwegian has suffered a set back in a bid to win US approval for its new UK-based subsidiary.
Europe’s third largest low cost carrier is seeking a foreign carrier permit from US authorities to allow it to take advantage of UK-US open skies freedoms to expand long haul operations.
The US Department of Transportation last night announced it will continue to review the foreign air carrier permit application for Norwegian’s British-based subsidiary Norwegian UK to operate flights between the US and Europe.
The regulator will continue to review the UK application and is still to finalise approval for a licence to allow the airline to establish a base in Ireland for long haul flights.
The carrier gained British government support after Norwegian was granted a UK operating licence by the Civil Aviation Authority in November, allowing the airline to be established.
A spokesman for the airline said: “Norwegian UK is a recognised British airline, with a large UK base and the support of the UK government.
“Given Norwegian UK’s clear and legitimate right to a foreign carrier permit, we therefore remain confident we will receive final approval.”
The US DoT’s decision will not affect Norwegian’s current transatlantic services to the US, which it flies using a permit granted y Norwegian regulators.
With US approval for Norwegian UK, the airline will be able to more effectively utilise its long-haul fleet and establish a “seamless operation,” including the use of the same aircraft on both US and other long-haul routes to destinations such as Asia, South Africa and South America, according to the airline.
Norwegian is the third-largest airline group at Gatwick, operating eight long haul routes and more than 40 European services. Norwegian also runs European routes from Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh airports.
Opponents of Norwegian’s overseas bases had staged a last-ditch effort to block approval from the US, arguing that the Brexit vote left the future of aviation agreements with the UK up in the air, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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